A pro-euthanasia group made a video depicting a brain cancer patient's dying moments
The debate over euthanasia is unlikely to end anytime soon. Much like the discussion over abortion, it is an intractable moral issue where some people are always bound to disagree. The choices of a dying person are levelled against the laws surrounding doctors and homicide, creating a very difficult situation. For people in a coma or with chronic and painful diseases, could it ever be time to simply pull the plug, if that person consents or has previously written that they would prefer it that way?
A group called Go Gentle Australia has made an emotional and graphic video that they believe will swing the debate in their favour. It has caused enormous controversy, however, for its extreme content and politicized stance. The six-minute film, called Stop The Horror, depicts the dying moments of a patient with brain cancer. His health and mental state rapidly deteriorate in an incredibly shocking death, which has been banned from YouTube for simply being too terrifying. It has been called 'virtually unwatchable'. A 'stop button' is available on the video, as people will need the option to turn it off should they become too disturbed by it.
Anyone under 18 is advised not to watch the film by its own creators. They designed it to be so harrowing that it would convert people to their political position. Australian MPs have already been showed the film, to consider changing the legislation on euthanasia to allow people to choose a death of their own instead of such a terrifying and drawn-out death.
The video is a recreation with actors, of the real 2005 death of 56-year-old Australian actor Greg Sims, who died from brain cancer in similar circumstances. With consent from his daughter, the film was made.
The video is surely horrific, but what do you think about its political motivations? There is a difference between acknowledging the suffering and proposing a solution to that suffering. Critics of the video have warned that re-writing homicide law to accommodate euthanasia would be a massive mistake.
It's easy to show victims of a war and propose intervention, or show aborted children and say that abortion is evil, but there is more to any debate than the horrific details on the ground. It's a sad thing, but it is true. You'll have to make up your own mind on the topic.
Euthanasia is largely illegal in Western countries, and doctors have been arrested for obliging their patients' wishes for an early death. Is it better to live in endless pain or die now and be spared? If I had to live the rest of my life with, say, a crippling headache that couldn't be dulled, I don't know what I would do. And that's a scary thought.
The human brain is so fragile. Anything wrong with it can render a person a trapped shell in their body. Is that a proper circumstance to just ask for a different end than slow deterioration?
This is an incredibly emotional debate with major consequences. Is Go Gentle Australia right to do this? Is it propaganda, or bold truth-telling? You decide.